In 1958, Rachel Waterhouse was a founder member of the Victorian Society in London, but was advised that starting a group in Birmingham would be premature. However, splendid Victorian buildings continued to be demolished in Birmingham city centre.
Branches were set up in Liverpool in 1965 and Manchester in 1966. The stimulus to form a Birmingham branch came when Nicholas Cooper of the National Monuments Board and Nicholas Taylor of the Architectural Review mounted a photographic exhibition of the Nineteenth Century Architecture of Birmingham at the city’s art gallery (1966-67).
A meeting was attended by more than 400 people and Rachel was appointed to the chair of the resulting Birmingham and West Midlands group, which she held for three years. This part of the society owes its continued successes to her tenacity and foresight.